A Sampling Of Oscar Hopefuls

Host Jacki Lyden presents a montage of the films nominated for Best Picture at Sunday night's Academy Awards.

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The red carpet is rolled out, the statuettes are shined, the envelopes are ready. Tonight, of course, is Oscar night. And to mark the 81st annual Academy Awards, we decided to take an audio journey through the Best Picture nominees, starting with "Milk" and Best Actor hopeful, Sean Penn.

(Soundbite of film, "Milk")

(Soundbite of applause)

Mr. SEAN PENN (Actor): (As Harvey Milk) My name is Harvey Milk, and I'm here to recruit you.

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (As character) You'll be the first openly gay man elected to major office.

Mr. PENN: (As Milk) All men are created equal. No matter how hard you try, you can never erase those words.

(Soundbite of film, "Frost/Nixon")

Mr. MICHAEL SHEEN (Actor): (As David Frost) I'd like to give Richard Nixon the trial he never had. The American people need a conviction.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. FRANK LANGELLA (Actor): (As Richard Nixon) Look, when you're in office, you've got to do a lot of things sometimes that are not always, in the strictest sense of the law, legal.

Mr. SHEEN: (As Frost) Wait. Just so I understand correctly, are you really saying that in certain situations, the president can decide whether it's in the best interests of the nation and then do something illegal?

Mr. LANGELLA: (As Nixon) I'm saying that when the president does it, that means it's not illegal.

(Soundbite of film, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button")

Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (As character) The infirmities, not of a newborn but of a man well in his 80's on his way to the grave.

Unidentified Woman #1 (Actor): (As character) He's dying?

Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (As character) Of old age.

Unidentified Woman #2 (Actor): (As character) Oh God in Heaven.

Mr. BRAD PITT (Actor): (As Benjamin Button) My name's Benjamin, Benjamin Button.

Unidentified Man #3 (Actor): (As character) How old are you?

Mr. PITT: (As Button) Seven, but I look a lot older.

Unidentified Woman #3 (Actor): (As character) We're almost the same age. We're meeting in the middle.

(Soundbite of music)

(Soundbite of film, "The Reader")

Mr. RALPH FIENNES (Actor): (As Michael Berg) When I was younger, I had an affair.

Ms. KATE WINSLET (Actor): (As Hanna Schmitz) She was a friend of yours.

Mr. FIENNES: (As Berg) A kind of friend.

Ms. WINSLET: (As Schmitz) My name is Hanna Schmitz.

Unidentified Man #4 (Actor): (As character) You joined the SS in 1943.

Ms. WINSLET: (As Schmitz) They were looking for guards.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. FIENNES: (As Berg) How wrong can you be?

(Soundbite of music)

(Soundbite of film, "Slumdog Millionaire")

Unidentified Man #5 (Actor): (As character) Jamal Malik, you're absolutely right.

(Soundbite of Applause)

Unidentified Man #5: (As character) Welcome to "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire."

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man #5: (As character) You're giving (unintelligible), and now you're richer than they will ever be. What a player. Ladies and gentlemen, what a player.

(Soundbite of music)

LYDEN: Those are excerpts from "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Reader," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Frost/Nixon" and "Milk," the five nominees for Best Picture at tonight's Academy Awards. While you're watching tonight, go to our Web site, npr.org, where movie maniacs will be blogging live throughout the broadcast.

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